The ultimate guide to cherry jam

The ultimate guide to cherry jam

July means that delicious, juicy cherries are in season and ready to be enjoyed. Few of us are lucky enough to have a cherry tree in our gardens, but cherries are widely available from good greengrocers, farmers’ markets and farm shops. Cherries are often available in small crates, which means there are enough to enjoy as they are and to make into jam. If you have never made it before, now is the time to learn how to make cherry jam.

Our favourite cherry jam recipe

Making cherry jam could not be simpler. Here is our favourite recipe:

1,800gms fresh cherries
300ml of water
Zest and juice of four lemons
1kg of jam sugar


Pit the cherries and set the stones aside. Place the cherries in a large pan with the water, lemon zest and juice. Split all the cherry stones, tie them in a square of muslin, and add this to the pan. Heat gently until the contents are almost boiling, then simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove the muslin with the cherry stones and set aside. Pour in the jam sugar, stirring all the time until the sugar is dissolved. Once the sugar is fully dissolved, bring the jam to the boil and continue boiling for 10 minutes.

Take the jam off the heat and test whether it has reached setting point by spooning a small amount onto the back of a chilled plate. Leave for a moment or two, then press your finger into it. If it is ready, it will wrinkle as you press it; if the jam is still runny, continue boiling it for a few minutes longer and then repeat the test.

Allow the jam to cool for 10 minutes, then skim off any scum and pour the jam into sterilised jam jars. Seal and label the jars and store them in a cool, dark place.

Cherry jam recipe alternatives

Whilst this recipe is our firm favourite, there are plenty of alternatives for the adventurous cook. Once you have learned how to make cherry jam, you can get more inventive with your recipes. Try cherry and cinnamon jam, or cherry and hazelnut conserve. Whatever recipe you choose, remember that cherries are low in pectin and you will therefore always need to use jam sugar rather than standard sugar.

Once you have made your cherry jam, it is time to get creative with how to use it. Try melted camembert with cherry jam for a delicious supper treat, or bake an indulgent Black Forest gateau. Whichever way you enjoy it, cherry jam is always a popular choice.

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